What to expect
We now come to a close encounter with a tax collector in Luke’s eye-witness account of Jesus. And not just any tax collector, Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. You can imagine whatever resentment people had of tax collectors, it would have been even more towards Zacchaeus!
This is what we know about Zacchaeus from the account – he was short but was keen to see Jesus so he climbed a tree to get a better view.
But then Zacchaeus did something unexpected, something totally unheard of from a tax collector. Why would he do that? What changed in him?
Zacchaeus the tax collector
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’
8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’
9 Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’